Like the song goes, it’s a tale as old as time: The new year inspires people to set goals for the coming year, and many of us want to be better with our money.
It’s a great idea! Financial stability means we have enough to pay the bills and put a little aside for emergencies, a vacation, or something fun to enjoy as a reward for your hard work.
Unfortunately, as the weeks go by, reality sets in, and it’s so easy to lose sight of our budget goals — or the determination to stick with them.
But maybe 2022 is the year you flip the script and stick with your budget. Anything is possible!
Here are seven tips for mastering your financial future and staying on budget in the new year.
1. Look at your bills. Honestly.
Not just honestly as in really, but honestly as in without hiding or discounting anything. Look at all your bills and expenditures from January through December. Did you overspend in the summer, for example, by having dinner out more to enjoy patio weather? Did your utility bills go up in the winter to accommodate the colder weather and longer nights? Get a real sense of your expenses and see where money is spent inconsistently. Compare your income with your expenditures and see where things need to change.
2. Set a budget.
This can feel overwhelming and scary, but it’s for your good. It can also be pretty empowering! Take a look at your income and expenses, write everything down and figure out how much you bring home versus how much you spend. Factor in also whether you’re saving any money for the future, for emergencies, or for fun. There are so many free budgeting tools available online; they can take the guesswork out of budgeting and give you the tools to succeed.
3. Set real, tangible goals and hold yourself accountable.
It’s very old-fashioned-sounding, but make a list of what you want to do and where you want to go. If you want to pay off a high-interest credit card, for example, determine that you’ll pay $10 or $20 extra each month. Figure out how long it will take to pay off the card and stick to it. Or maybe you want to cut back on spending by getting takeout only once or twice per month. Write it down! Keep a list of your goals somewhere it will be easily noticed and seen. Maybe post it in multiple places to keep you on track.
4. Look for ways to cut costs.
If you live in a colder part of the country, you know the winter months mean higher heating bills. Call your gas or electricity provider and see if budget billing is available. This allows you to pay the same amount for your utility all year-’round, without outrageous bills in the winter coming out of the blue and hitting your budget. Another option: Do you have subscriptions you don’t use? Whether it’s for streaming services or websites, anything that you pay automatically becomes a kind of hidden expense. If you’re not using something you’re paying for, maybe it’s time to cancel that bill and save some cash.
5. Start saving.
Every little bit helps. And much like those forgotten subscription fees that are paid automatically, you can set up savings accounts where money is withdrawn regularly — weekly, monthly, bimonthly, whatever works for you — so you’re adding to your savings without having to take any action. This money can add up quickly if you put it into an account that collects interest, so one day, you go to look at the balance and find you’ve got a tidy little sum set aside, and you didn’t even have to do anything for it.
6. Check your work.
Every few months, take a look at your income and expenses. Are you holding yourself accountable? Are you sticking with your budget? Have you cut expenses, or are you adding to them? Review your work and see if there are areas for improvement. (Surprise: There are always areas for improvement.)
7. Don’t beat yourself up.
So here’s the thing about being a human person in the world: Sometimes, we get distracted and pick up that magazine at the grocery store check-out line. Or we splurge on those concert tickets because it’s been a rough two years, and you don’t want to miss out. You will have days, or weeks, where things go off the rails. That’s ok. Take a look at your budget and your goals and reset. It’s one day. Don’t look at that slip-up as a sign of failure. Start again, try harder, regain focus, and know you can do better. You’ve promised yourself you would, and you owe it to yourself to try. You’ve got it!
Create a Prosperous New Year
If your budget shows that you need a better-paying job to meet your financial goals, call Davis Staffing. We work with great companies looking for candidates like you and can help increase your income. Call Davis Staffing today, and let’s get to work!